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“Great, if you JUST want to sleep, otherwise; "meh".” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Keen

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Hotel Keen
2.5 of 5 Hotel   |   425 High Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #11 of 24 hotels in Palo Alto
Oakland, CA
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Great, if you JUST want to sleep, otherwise; "meh".”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013

Where this review is coming from: 40-something married couple who wanted a night in Palo Alto.
Why we decided on Hotel Keen: price seemed OK, the simplicity attracted us.
Would we stay there again? Not very likely.

Great for: very tired (so tired that they are dead to the world) solo business travelers and/or folks who need to be downtown.
Not good for: anyone who needs to see the sun, or breath outside air from their hotel room.

The Review:
This hotel is fine/ok, but that's about it.
The desk staff was very nice, attentive and helpful. Upon arrival, they told us that they had upgraded us to a larger room free of charge (which was very nice, naturally). The "larger" room was fairly small (acceptable, but just small in general), so I'm afraid to find out what the smallest rooms are like.
As the other reviews here on Trip Advisor point out, Hotel Keen is a very stark, simple, small boutique hotel with nearly no perks.

...the clean design, and creative use of small space are great and all, but as my wife pointed out, it may be a little bit like what living in a cell might be like. Me, I thought of it as being confined to a cell on a spaceship as you're unaware that you are hurtling through space (kind of like living in the Film "2001"). Why? Well, the fact that there was a single window, which you cannot open, and is made of frosted glass so that it was also almost impossible to tell if it is night or day outside might have had a lot to do with it.
The room was clean, efficient, and generally attractive with its use of curtains instead of doors, and euro-style fixtures, furniture, etc. The bed was comfortable, the TV worked fine.

WHY we wouldn't stay again, or longer than one night; honestly, it is because the impression is that you are basically confined to a cell.
As you walk towards your room down the hallway, you notice there are little blue lights at foot level not unlike the emergency exit lights on a plane. I'm doing what I can to give the best illustration/impression that I can of the place so that you won't be surprised when/if you stay there. Again; I'm not intentionally trying to put the place down, it is fine for what it is, but you should really understand what that is before you stay there.

I think this place would be ideal if you were super, super tired, and all you wanted to do is sleep without knowing if it is daylight or nighttime outside.

There is an acceptable level of "white noise" to the place; the sounds of machines and such muffled through the walls which is typical for any building, but I'm mentioning this so you don't think the place is 100% quiet.

The free 24 hour pod coffee (in the lobby) and "free" continental-style breakfast were nice, but with 3+ bakeries nearby (plus numerous other restaurants all within a couple blocks) you might need to get out of the hotel to not feel like you are still on lock-down in the hotel's confining environment.

SO; if you just need a practical, but small, essentially windowless room to stay in for the purpose of sleeping, and you feel the price is OK, then go for it.
If you want to feel human, however, or if your idea of life is breathing outside air and seeing the sun (from/in the hotel) while staying somewhere, then this won't be the place for you.

On the plus side; seriously close to EVERYTHING downtown.
Parking: we were there for a Saturday night, and had no problem getting a free spot in the lot next door, weekdays would be challenging, and/or at an expense.

Great for what it is. Not so great if you need/want something different than what it offers.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pfriedman, General Manager at Hotel Keen, responded to this review, February 14, 2013
Thank you for giving the hotel a try and posting a very honest and accurate assessment of the property. I am especially glad that you found the staff and service spot on as they and that is what truly sets our hotel apart from our peers. While we were able to do an amazing job on the physical plant during our two plus year renovation, we were not able to make the property any larger with regards to public space. We actually lost rooms, going from 56 to 42 (adding private bathrooms in every room, an elevator, etc.). Palo Alto and its surrounding area has so much to offer with one exception - a truly cool place to refresh and recharge when work and fun are done. One small correction: the windows do open - albeit to face the walls of our neighboring buildings (so I almost didn't want to mention it).
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74 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
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English first
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
151 reviews 151 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2013

I love staying at Hotel Keen and have had an amazing experience every time. The guys at the front desk are very accommodating and have a great sense of humour! The know all the good places to eat and are very helpful. The rooms are very compact and have everything you need, and they have a healthy breakfast complete with great espresso! Can't wait to go back.

Stayed August 2012, traveled on business
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
pfriedman, General Manager at Hotel Keen, responded to this review, February 14, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to write such a nice review. I am pleased that we are still on your mind these many months since your visit. Which only means that it will be that much sooner until your next one. Did that come out right?
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

We spent a night at the Hotel Keen. This was our third night at this centrally located, hip, small, boutique hotel in Palo Alto. The hotel is 1/2 block off university and 3 blocks from the main Stanford entrance. Rooms are small but comfortable and well-appointed. The staff are welcoming and accomodating. The buffet continental breakfast was excellent and improved with Nespresso machine which produced a great latte. The only drawback was absence of private parking but parking after 11 PM on the street and in public lot next door is easy to find and free. We will be back soon.

Room Tip: Standard rooms are more than enough for the young business traveler. Larger rooms are available but...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palo Alto
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

Amazing location, cute decor, and friendly staff. However, you can hear everything going on in the other rooms and halway. The air is directly over your bed and blowing on your face all night. Shower is beautiful, but very narrow and not for everyone. T

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Haywards Heath, England, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2013

Rooms are small with hanging space limited to a hook on the wall, this is OK for single traveler short stays but would be an issue with couples who are looking for a Palo Alto base for a a week or more as you will be keeping all your stuff in your cases.
There is no restaurant but the hotel does provided a light breakfast in the lobby and operates an honour bar which seems to work at night.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 21, 2012 via mobile

Yes, rooms are very small...let's get that out of the way. It's Palo Alto...do you have any idea what real estate costs?? Are you really interested in hiding in your room anyhow?

I recently stayed here for almost two weeks on a biz trip. The location is a few blocks from everything that matters in PA. The rooms are sparkling clean, well designed, with great linens, nice TVs and you can borrow magazines and Wii's downstairs if you like. The staff is super friendly in a natural, non-overbearing way. They recognize and greet you. They happily addressed my questions about the area, remade my room keys all 17 times I demagnetized them, provided truthful reviews on area restaurants and made me feel at home. They casually serve wine, popcorn and cookies in the evening based on traffic. Continental breakfast is adequate and the coffee (brewed all day) is great. The honor bar can meet your sweet/salty/beer/wine craving at any hour.

I'll be back and look forward to it!

Stayed December 2012, traveled on business
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

Firstly let me say the Hotel is perfectly situated, near the University, and near the center of Palo Alto, which by the way is charming and very "user-friendly". Every establishment we visited had operating Wifi and some of the eateries were better than good.
As for the Keen, alas what do you do with a Hotel whose rooms are small as possible. The room we stayed in was too small to have a bathroom door, or a closet....
Breakfast is very adequate, though the place were it is served is so small that a maximum of six people can enjoy it , at any given time. I suppose the Hotel expects you to get your breakfast and find a quiet corner, away from the hotel. I do not recommend you bring it to your room as when we tried it , the cleaning person had already been there and the room was ready for "the next customer".
The hotel has wifi, but it was not working when we were there, a major disappointment. Phone was not working either ( battery ran out ), and the shower, while attractive and well appointed with soap, shampoo etc. had water that " trickled" rather than "showered".
There was one perk we chuckled over. In the room there are magic markers and a white board for using during "meetings".....the room barely had space for a bed and one chair. We wondered how many meetings they had, and how well attended they were.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Hotel Keen

Address: 425 High Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301
Location: United States > California > Palo Alto
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 24 hotels in Palo Alto
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Hotel Keen 2.5*
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